Cojacaru The Skinner #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 21, 2021

Writers: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Artists: Peter Bergting
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

Following the relatively recent announcement that Baltimore and Joe Golem existed in a shared universe, dubbed the Outerverse, there have been a string of comics set to further expand these shared universe, all so far set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The first was Lady Baltimore, the second is here, a new two-part mini, Cojacaru the Skinner. This focuses on a character who was previously touched upon in Joe Golem, but in a brand new light unfamiliar to readers.

As the First World War was the perfect backdrop to Baltimore, the Second World War works equally well as the setting for this new string of interconnected stories. This is a story filled with witches, different types and covens, but it’s the war which is truly horrific. The story focuses on Lieutenant Alexandre Gareau and his men, possessors of valuable intel, as they are pursued by the Hexenkorps, an army of witches allied with the Nazi’s and introduced in Lady Baltimore. There is a real sense of desperation and futility on every page, the odds are stacked against them, but getting this intel back to their superiors goes beyond their lives. It’s a fantastic plot begging to be explored, and all of this before there’s even a mention of Cojacaru the Skinner.

Being a two part story there is no guarantee that any of the characters will survive beyond this tale, and that no-one is above being cannon fodder. Each page is filled with a palpable tension which other comics could learn a thing or two from. It feels a small, personal tale. A snippet of a much larger adventure, with big consequences. But we aren’t getting the whole story. That’s not important. This moment of it, with the odds stacked against our heroes, supernatural threats looming, and no hope. Characters who could live or die with no huge impact on the universe. And it works fantastically. At it’s heart this two-part series is about introducing readers to Cojacaru the Skinner, but her part in the tale is relegated to the sidelines, she isn’t the focus of this story merely a bit player. It works wonders, there’s enough intrigue to keep readers interested, but when she appears she doesn’t steal the story. There is a lot of potential in the character and it feels like Mignola and Golden have big plans for her.

There is a rich tapestry of mythology here which is begging to be explored, and it feels like Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden are going full steam on this shared universe. Telling a series of shorter stories focusing on individual characters is a great opportunity to introduce all the players in this ongoing story, tell small and personal tales, while also expanding the world and the bigger picture.

Peter Bergting is responsible for the art here, and readers of both Baltimore and Joe Golem will be familiar with his work on both those series within the larger Outerverse. Having the same artist on multiple stories within the same universe helps to draw everything together and paint one picture. He does an incredible job of bringing the supernatural to life in a horrifying way, and capturing the desperation of Gareau and his men as they fight for their lives, on an important mission much bigger than themselves.

Another exciting entry in a shared universe which has all of the same scope and potential the Mignolaverse, but without a titular hero like Hellboy who is central to the whole story. This gives a freedom to paint a much bigger picture with a sense that no-one is truly safe. Hellboy’s destiny was foretold early on, and subsequent stories were just steps on the path to getting there. This Outerverse doesn’t find itself contained in the same way, and it feels like Mignola and Golden could take this story in a myriad of ways. Bergting’s art is excellent as always, and his heavy involvement in all the previous entries in the Outerverse contribute to the feel of a shared universe.

Our Score:


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